JAIPUR: While nation-wide protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) rage on, Union Home Minister Amit Shah will hold a public meeting on January 3 at Jodhpur, the home turf of Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.
The rally is a part of the BJP’s massive awareness campaign across the country to inform people and remove popular resentment about the CAA and the National Register of Citizens (NRC). This will be Shah’s first public meeting in Rajasthan ever since he became the home minister.
Initially, the BJP had planned to hold this meeting in Jaipur but later shifted the venue to Jodhpur because of its political significance. As part of its strategy, the party is trying to corner Gehlot in his home-district which also happens to have a large population of Hindu migrants from Pakistan many of whom have been waiting to get Indian citizenship for years.
Hundreds of these migrants had celebrated with great gusto the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill by the Parliament which had given fresh hope to around 25,000 Hindu migrants from Pakistan who live in Rajasthan. By holding the Amit Shah rally in Jodhpur, the BJP hopes to reach out to this large section of potential beneficiaries of the CAA.
Although Jodhpur is Gehlot’s constituency, he has been strongly opposing the CAA and has announced that Rajasthan will not implement the act. He even led a huge protest march in Jaipur against the CAA last week.
In early December, Amit Shah had said during the debate on the Citizenship Amendment Bill in the Rajya Sabha that Gehlot, in 2006, had written to P Chidambaram, the-then home minister to grant citizenship to Hindu and Sikh migrants from Pakistan.
In turn, Gehlot had hit back that Shah was misleading people as he had sought citizenship only for Hindus and Sikhs in 2006 only because there were no migrants from other minorities who had fled from Pakistan into Rajasthan.
A majority of the Hindu migrants who fled from Pakistan into Rajasthan are concentrated in Jodhpur, Barmer, Jaisalmer and Bikaner districts of the desert zone. Before coming to Jodhpur, Amit Shah will also address a rally in Kolkata where West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has for weeks been openly and vigorously opposing the CAA.